I’ve recently been obsessing about boats again. The internet makes it easy to obsess over things; if you have a craving to find out everything about a particular topic, you just need to do a few Google searches and suddenly you’ve got thrimity-thrum tabs open and Firefox is using up 75% of your processing power.
When I was about 18, a friend of mine took me across the channel on his parents yacht. This was an amazing experience, going from flat, closed-off and conservative Bedfordshire to the world of harbours and ocean-going types. Technically, this means I have some sailing experience, but it was so long abo, and I was such an annoyingly lazy goon at that point in my life I think the only thing that I really took away from the experience was the memory of being at sea.
Coming across the above video reminded me of that, and the narrators vision of freedom and mobility is something that I find very attractive at the minute – I’m still too ill to hold down a job (no matter what the government said), and the idea of independence and travel that Hold Fast talks about is very attractive. Indeed, it’s so attractive that I ignored my NaNoWriMo effort for a few days, alternatively playing an Elite-style game while researching boating. I now have an enormous word-debt to get through if I want to finish NaNoWriMo this year, so I want to link-dump and move on until some point later.
- To Mexico and Back – the narrator of the Hold Fast’s first trip out, which gives us some interesting views into how “Moxie Marlinspike” got into sailing in the first place
- Instructable: How to get a free yacht – similar to Hold Fast and the above piece, this long instructable is the story of somebody who found a cheap, possibly dangerous boat, and put a lot of time into it to make it seaworthy.
- Build a Dinghy – I was surprised to find that there are several sources for free boat-building plans on the internet. This links to a dinghy design that could be built if you were reasonably good at woodwork.
- Times Up Boating Association – my friend Pippa built a dinghy as part of a residency with this arts/boating group, but some of the other projects they have been involved in are much more far-out, such as the use of a caravan as a diving bell. Not that building a boat looks easy, but caravan + submerging sounds deadly.
- That man who keeps sailing around the UK with a roadmap – also see BBC coverage – is symptomatic of the split-nature of sailing. On one hand, it’s a clear set of skills and tools that keep people alive. On the other hand, there are people who are willing to throw themselves out into the sea with their hope and stupidity to keep them alive. While I am dubious of the amount of money the “proper” sailing world insists is needed, I also think it’s important not to be an idiot.
- The cautionary tale of Bas Jan Alder – Bas Jan Alder was an artist who attempted to sail across the Atlantic in a thirteen-foot boat. He died.